How I Fell in Love with Being a Therapist

Patient Story Contest Winner Melanie

Melanie McGriff, M.Ed., CCC-SLP

As a speech therapist, there was a moment when I “fell in love” with being a therapist. I was in college and was working with my very first patient. He was two years old, but had very few words. I had been given family pictures to work with, so along with other words I worked diligently on teaching him to say “Daddy.”

At the end of the semester, we had a family meeting to review the child’s progress. I had never met his parents, but mom and dad were both in attendance. During the meeting, the father asked if I had taught him to say “Daddy.” I told him yes, that we had been working diligently on it. In a broken voice, this young dad told me “thank you” and told me why it moved him so.

You see, this young man had been away from his little boy, in Desert Storm serving our country. When he returned home from his tour of duty, he was greeted with his son saying “Daddy” to him for the very first time. My heart melted and I was immediately in love with helping children to communicate. It was in that moment that put me on a path to help change other’s lives…through communication.

Throughout the past 20 plus years of my career, there have been other “confirming” special moments. Even in the midst of perceived “difficult” days when it seems no one wants to cooperate, someone gets sick, or you get a surprise in a diaper during a session (oh the things they don’t tell you in graduate school!) …you get a note like this…

This year at Valentine’s you taught [my son] to say, “I love you Mommy.” I waited almost 6 years to hear that, and at times lost confidence that I ever would. Now, every night, I hear, “Lub you Mommy,” as he smiles from ear to ear, but not as big as my smile. You have given our family a huge gift by teaching [him] to talk. You have a God-given talent-THANK You for using it on [my son].

I love working with children! As therapists, we each had a moment in our lives when we knew this was what we were supposed to do. We hope that you can see that in our eyes and in the way we work with your children.

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